Perre Coleman Magness explains why decadent American Southern food is so darn delicious in Southern Snacks, which acknowledges that sharing bountiful amounts of food is a natural part of the region’s culture—of tailgating, garden parties, comforting the bereaved, welcoming babies, and any other social gathering.
Southerners have perfected the art of “pick-up food”—the small bites and snacks that are beloved and expected at most events—and it shows in the book’s recipes. They highlight regional favorites from country ham to to sweet tea, and beckon to be cooked up through plentiful color photos, creative flavor combinations, and folksy, fun names like Comeback Sauce and Devils on Muleback. One would be hard-pressed to flip through the book without creasing multiple pages and mentally noting, “Oh, gotta make that.”
While the Memphis-based author is proud to feature many recipes from her area, there are tempting contributions from throughout the South: Mississippi Sin (spicy, cheesy ham dip), Kentucky Hot Brown Bites, Bama Wings with White Sauce, and Carolina Caviar (black-eyed pea salad). But there are also Koolickles, pickles strangely brined with Kool Aid, which radiate in neon on gas station counters deep in the Delta.
Breezy, informative recipe introductions relate humorous and nostalgic anecdotes about family parties and catered events, and the many sidebars explain regional food history and entertainments. While most recipes are fairly rich and laden with caloric cheeses, mayonnaise, or porky products, there are many other choices that shimmer with lighter ingredients from the Southern harvest. Sweet potatoes, zucchini, crawfish, field peas, and shrimp are all star ingredients in zesty and original recipes.
Southern Snacks is a delightful addition to the pantheon of Southern cookbooks—an inspirational resource for home and professional cooks alike, brimming over with ideas for bringing something different to the next get-together.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.